Brandon Strader

Tropes vs. Women / #GamerGate Conspiracies

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So, are you actually going to respond in any meaningful way, or just punctuate at me?  I honestly have no idea what you're getting at with this post.  Obviously you're having some sort of reaction to the quoted bit, but I have no idea what it is you're trying to convey.  Stunned disbelief, I guess?  At what?  We can't have a conversation if you won't, you know, converse with me.

 

Your definition is just as arbitrary as anyone else's, and so asserting it as infallibly true (read the tone and wording of your posts, dude) is nothing short of disingenuous. You say things like "That's what sexism IS!!!!!" Well, no, that's clearly not the case if sexism is ill defined in the first place.

You're basically saying "different people have different definitions of sexism, so anything you say about it is invalid!" and calling me disingenuous?

 

Here's how discussions like this work.  If there's any ambiguity over terms, the first thing you do is define your terms.  If you don't define your terms, then no one knows what you're actually talking about, so meaningful conversation is impossible.  I've defined my terms.  I've made it clear what I mean when I use the term "sexism" or "sexist".  Can we agree on that?  Is anyone confused about what I mean when I say those words?  Once terms are defined, you can go ahead with the actual discussion, since everyone knows what you're talking about now.

 

What you're doing is saying "but other people have different definitions, so your definition is invalid!".  This is bullshit.  I don't care what other people's definitions are.  I'm not using other people's definitions.  I'm using my definitions, which I've spelled out so that everyone is on the same page.  If you have a problem with my definitions, then we can talk about that, but saying "but sexism is poorly defined!" after I've just defined it for the purposes of the conversation we're having is an attempt to deflect the conversation.  You can do that forever and we'll never actually get to the conversation because you keep insist that we talk about the definition instead.

 

If that's the case, then it's literally impossible to talk to you about it.

 

 

Tangential side note, belief and attitude INEVITABLY manifests in action. Ignoring the problem until it actually *happens* is not enough if we want to get anywhere. The recent surge in Islamophobia is proof of this; long held attitudes by sectors of the American public have now been unleashing at alarming rates because of encouragement by the words from Repub. This isn't just about the actions. The problem is ignorance, belief in fearmogering, etc. all of these mental "non actions" are what's accelerating this mess, because they inevitably are resulting in actions. So casting them aside as not wothy of consideration until they manifest is like a police officer letting an armed robber walk into the bank and only trying to stop him after he's begun shooting the glass.

 

I've officially lost track of what your actual argument is at this point, so I'm going to pull things back and state my position in broad terms, and hopefully you can tell me where you disagree with what I'm saying.

 

Sexism is a thing that happens when people treat other people a certain way based on their sex, rather than treating them as individuals.  This is bad, because it paints people with stereotypes which are often inaccurate and usually unnecessarily limiting even if they aren't.  (eg, "men are physically stronger than women" is true on average, but it's irrelevant in a situation where you're dealing with an individual woman who happens to be physically stronger than an individual man, so treating all women like they're physically weaker than all men -- a sexist behavior -- is bad.)

 

Sexism continues to exist because of the way people internalize certain behaviors.  If you see everyone acting in sexist ways as you grow up, you believe that this is normal, and you're likely to act in sexist ways yourself.  This includes not just people that you encounter (friends, family, strangers, etc), but also media that you consume (books, TV, movies, video games, etc).  People create media that is sexist because they themselves are sexist.  This creates a vicious cycle -- sexist people create sexist media, which other people consume and thus internalize the idea that sexism is normal, which contributes toward making them sexist as well.

 

People like Anita Sarkeesian et al are attempting to end this cycle by discouraging the creation of sexist media.  If you point out sexism in media, then you get people to think about it instead of just blindly internalizing it, which helps prevent people from becoming sexist by consuming sexist media.  Such criticism also (hopefully) helps reduce the among of sexist media being created in the first place, which also helps stop the spread of sexism.  This isn't a cure-all -- it won't end sexism by itself -- but it will help contribute to that goal.

 

Generally speaking, this is a good thing, because sexism is bad and it reduces sexism.  It's possible to take it too far -- for example, calling for the banning of any media with sexist content.  Sarkeesian et al generally haven't done this -- indeed, Sarkeesian, at least, is careful to point out that a work having sexist aspects doesn't mean that it's a bad work, or that you shouldn't enjoy that work.  Only that you should be aware of the sexist aspects and understand why they're bad.

 

tldr, people pointing out social issues in media is a good thing because it helps, even if just a little, in solving those social issues.

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You're basically saying "different people have different definitions of sexism, so anything you say about it is invalid!" and calling me disingenuous?

 

Here's how discussions like this work.  If there's any ambiguity over terms, the first thing you do is define your terms.  If you don't define your terms, then no one knows what you're actually talking about, so meaningful conversation is impossible.  I've defined my terms.  I've made it clear what I mean when I use the term "sexism" or "sexist".  Can we agree on that?  Is anyone confused about what I mean when I say those words?  Once terms are defined, you can go ahead with the actual discussion, since everyone knows what you're talking about now.

 

What you're doing is saying "but other people have different definitions, so your definition is invalid!".  This is bullshit.  I don't care what other people's definitions are.  I'm not using other people's definitions.  I'm using my definitions, which I've spelled out so that everyone is on the same page.  If you have a problem with my definitions, then we can talk about that, but saying "but sexism is poorly defined!" after I've just defined it for the purposes of the conversation we're having is an attempt to deflect the conversation.  You can do that forever and we'll never actually get to the conversation because you keep insist that we talk about the definition instead.

 

EDIT: Re-read your post and it makes more sense to me now.

 

You say "people who do sexist actions are 100% sexist" in response to someone who clearly doesn't agree with that, the tone you use is one that feels a lot like you're telling them that you're right and they're wrong in absolutes even though right now you're telling me that it's just your definition. If I'm wrong about this, just say so.

 

Anyways, I agree to stop arguing about arguing (so don't actually say so, just ignore it). So going back to sexism:

 

Do sex mini-games make people cat-call? Do damsel-in-distress plotlines make kids grow up to approve of rape or have fuzzy non-distinct definitions of rape? Lower wage in the workforce? Worse selection rate in job interviews?

 

People with sexist attitudes and beliefs are more likely to do those things than people without sexist beliefs/attitudes. I think neither rescuing Princess Peach nor bedding Aphrodite nor giving DOA characters swimsuits has any effect whatsoever on that.

 

If there is a game that narratively has moral undertones that approve of rape or cat-calling or discriminating in the workplace or any of these other actual issues women face in the real world, then yes, the game is breeding sexist people because it's directly encouraging those behaviors. That is actually really bad, and I would venture against my belief in freedom of expression to condemn it as I did with the game Hatred.

 

I think the only thing you can truly say is that sexist tropes in games propagate more sexist tropes in games. This is the only thing that I agree with. These are the only sexist actions I see resulting from sexist tropes (the continuation of making games with sexist tropes). It's purely an issue of minority representation, which can hurt minorities. It does not equate to minority oppression, i.e. it does not feed back into other unrelated sexist behaviors like the ones I mentioned above.

 

Sexist tropes in games stay within the confines of sexist tropes in games and goes nowhere else. Maybe you don't actually disagree with this, I don't know. But this is what I've been trying to say. I think sexist tropes in games is bad. I don't think it increases general society sexism in all of those other civil rights issues and the like. So that's not why it's bad to me. I just see it as bad because it's tasteless quality of art, and also that it makes people feel insecure about their place in the world.

 

But at the same time, I agree with artistic/freedom of expression. So if there are people out there that use these tropes not because they're easy or make money but because they internally actually resonate with them (i.e. they have sexist attitudes/beliefs) then that's something that's not stopped without addressing general sexism ("my sexism", the sexism that makes living and surviving in the world harder for women), which is, yeah, really hard and complicated to do since it's inherently a psychological and sociological issue.

 

Sexism continues to exist because of the way people internalize certain behaviors.  If you see everyone acting in sexist ways as you grow up, you believe that this is normal, and you're likely to act in sexist ways yourself.  This includes not just people that you encounter (friends, family, strangers, etc), but also media that you consume (books, TV, movies, video games, etc).  People create media that is sexist because they themselves are sexist.  This creates a vicious cycle -- sexist people create sexist media, which other people consume and thus internalize the idea that sexism is normal, which contributes toward making them sexist as well.

 

People like Anita Sarkeesian et al are attempting to end this cycle by discouraging the creation of sexist media.  If you point out sexism in media, then you get people to think about it instead of just blindly internalizing it, which helps prevent people from becoming sexist by consuming sexist media.  Such criticism also (hopefully) helps reduce the among of sexist media being created in the first place, which also helps stop the spread of sexism.  This isn't a cure-all -- it won't end sexism by itself -- but it will help contribute to that goal.

 

100% agreement.

 

See above reply.

 

As a final note, I am in agreement with you that natural ways of getting rid of these things in media is fine. Market demand, proper critique, whatever. However as a response to something Bleck said, he's made it clear he believes in penalty (in his words) for sexist media. And I take issue with that. I was taking issue before with Anita because there were words flying around that she was calling for censoring or pulling games off shelves. Since I have learned that's not the case, we can both agree my arguments up to that point are irrelevant now.

 

TL;DR I agree with literally everything besides anywhere where you make a connection that playing a sexist game turns you into a sexist (or helps you internalize sexist tendencies).

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Might as well lay out what I've been saying (with some revision, but anyways...). Here's a recap of my argument, for those of you who are like, "wha???".

 

1. Equating "actions" as being what a person "is" suppresses his/her deliberation from fair consideration.
 
One of the important words here is "equating". If action defines a person's moral character (i.e. is sufficient to fully describe said moral character), it really focuses the attention on what is observable, and obscures what is unfortunately not as observable---something that would require a bit of trust and analysis of a person's justification of their actions; that admittedly is harder, and it is easy to blame someone for their actions and forget about their motives. I get that. But I don't condone that.
 
2. We should always consider perception vs. reality when speaking to how a group of people "is" as compared to what they "do", because what a person does is not inherently linked to careful deliberation.
 
Since deliberation is a more focused version of thinking (it's a specific, dynamic way to think, involving initial considerations, a decision, as well as reflection on any outside influences that may have altered your thought process while the decision has not yet been made, or even afterwards), and since deliberation ultimately leads to a decision (even if it's a decision to not act), deliberation leads to action (or inaction), whether the deliberation is refined or not. Note that it doesn't necessarily mean that if the deliberation took a long time, it's automatically refined; it just means it may or may not have been efficient and totally conducive to an effective decision.
 
Action resulting from improper/unrefined deliberation does not fully account for action resulting from refined deliberation, because deliberation affects the decision made and thus the action made (if it is in fact made). I define "improper" as the idea that it may or may not have been hasty, and tends to lack substantial contemplation of consequences, impacts, etc. In other words, it would be rash to judge someone based upon only their actions rather than the totality of the circumstances, as the circumstances contribute to their personal motives, and the motives contribute to the actions.
 

3. I'm not denying that actions DO (unfortunately) matter in the end (the most, even, because they are observable), but I AM saying that it would be worse to compound that and say that their action has essentially 'summed up' who they "are" as a person.

 

I am prompting a more critical analysis of the circumstances surrounding an action, how these circumstances contribute to the motives, how the motives are said/claimed to justify the actions, and how the person perceives his/her own action after-the-fact. Were they voluntarily doing it? Should they be held accountable for doing something involuntary? I'm not saying that they aren't ever held accountable despite the involuntary nature of the action---I'm saying that they shouldn't be. Of course, this last statement is again, in the context of the surrounding circumstances.

 

-----

 

tldr; I think we should prompt more critical analysis of a person's moral character in conjunction with his or her actions before making the claim that his or her actions simply "sum up" who the person "is". It's irresponsible to jump the gun (and I had provided examples of poor police work to point that out).

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However as a response to something Bleck said, he's made it clear he believes in penalty (in his words) for sexist media. And I take issue with that.

 

what comes to mind when I say "penalty"

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what comes to mind when I say "penalty"

 

I'd rather ask what you meant by "significant penalty" (your words) because you know better than I do what you were intending to say.

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TL;DR I agree with literally everything besides anywhere where you make a connection that playing a sexist game turns you into a sexist (or helps you internalize sexist tendencies).

We might have to agree to disagree on this point.  It seems self-evident to me that the experiences you undergo shape you as a person, and that the media you consume is part of your experiences.  There's no magical barrier between seeing your friends and family make misogynistic jokes and internalizing that experience or watching a comedian on TV make misogynistic jokes and internalizing that experience.  But if you flat-out reject the notion that media you consume affects you as a person, then there's really nothing else to discuss on the subject.

 

tldr; I think we should prompt more critical analysis of a person's moral character in conjunction with his or her actions before making the claim that his or her actions simply "sum up" who the person "is". It's irresponsible to jump the gun (and I had provided examples of poor police work to point that out).

I'm struggling to see what that has to do with the wider subject of sexism in games (or media in general) and the criticism thereof.

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We might have to agree to disagree on this point.  It seems self-evident to me that the experiences you undergo shape you as a person, and that the media you consume is part of your experiences.  There's no magical barrier between seeing your friends and family make misogynistic jokes and internalizing that experience or watching a comedian on TV make misogynistic jokes and internalizing that experience.  But if you flat-out reject the notion that media you consume affects you as a person, then there's really nothing else to discuss on the subject.

 

Like I said, if there is a game that narratively has undertones of encouraging misogynistic behavior (gameplay that "rewards" players for taking in-game actions that are sexist), then like I said definitely has the effect that you claim.

 

As far as actual common sexist tropes like damsel in distress storylines and sexual objectification, I see no reason to believe that those things translate to internalizing sexual behaviors/actions.

 

What are they internalizing? The belief that women are weak? The belief that women are sexual objects, or that their value is decided by breast size? And that these new beliefs translate to sexist actions in the future?

 

Didn't we just have an argument where you said you can't influence peoples' belief and motivations to make them not do sexist things, but now you can when you DO want to make them do sexist things? So peoples' minds and "invisible" characters ARE "intangibly" malleable, but only inevitably to make them worse? And suddenly now these new internalized beliefs matter when you just got done telling me we don't care about sexist beliefs/attitudes, only actions?

 

You'll need to clarify that; I find it self-contradicting. I also might be lumping you in with Bleck's stuff too much, please point it out.

 

Here's the bottom line. You're telling me we can't fix people internally. However, you're right now trying to tell me that media can and does damage people internally (which is how I'm interpreting what you say is seeing sexist things in media and internalizing those ideas). So why can we internally damage people but not also internally fix them?

 

Or do you believe that in conjunction with your belief that sexist media makes sexist people (who do sexist things in real life) that progressive media makes progressive people (who do progressive things in real life). I feel like to have a reasonable point of view, you either need to believe both or believe neither. I believe neither, and if you believe both, then yes, I can agree to disagree. Because then you're being consistent. But I don't see this agreeing with the assertion that you can't change peoples' beliefs and motivations, because I see these both as doing just that. I see your entire issue as doing just that. And my shtick is that there are better ways to do just that, that extend outside of the confines of media.

 

I'm struggling to see what that has to do with the wider subject of sexism in games (or media in general) and the criticism thereof.

 

He's still talking about the subject of evaluating if a person is or is not sexist, not necessarily extending to how it relates to solving sexism in games.

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I'm struggling to see what that has to do with the wider subject of sexism in games (or media in general) and the criticism thereof.

 

It's outside the scope of what I was intending to argue.

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What are they internalizing? The belief that women are weak? The belief that women are sexual objects, or that their value is decided by breast size? And that these new beliefs translate to sexist actions in the future?

Pretty much, yes.  If the only women you ever see in video games (or Hollywood movies, or whatever) are damsels in distress who immediately shack up with the (inevitably male) hero upon being rescued, then yeah, the idea that women are unable to take care of themselves and thus exchange sexual favors (or romantic love, if you're feeling more idealistic) for protection is more or less the message being sent.

 

 

Didn't we just have an argument where you said you can't influence peoples' belief and motivations to make them not do sexist things, but now you can when you DO want to make them do sexist things? So peoples' minds and "invisible" characters ARE "intangibly" malleable, but only inevitably to make them worse? And suddenly now these new internalized beliefs matter when you just got done telling me we don't care about sexist beliefs/attitudes, only actions?

No, my whole point was that environment (the way people around you and the media you consume affects you) leads to attitudes, attitudes lead to behaviors, and behaviors lead to environment (the way you affect people, both through personal interaction and any media you may create).  By calling out sexist media, you hopefully reduce the amount of sexism in that media, which leads to less sexist environments, which leads to less sexist attitudes, which leads to less sexist behaviors, which leads to less sexist environments and the whole thing is self-reinforcing.

 

The thing about caring about behaviors rather than attitudes was because behaviors are what cause harm.  I don't really care if you believe in the deepest part of your soul that women are inferior to men as long as you don't act on that belief.  This is nigh-impossible, of course, and changing people's attitudes is the easiest way to change their behavior.  But if we can change the behavior without changing the attitude, then that's preferable to changing the attitude without changing the behavior.

 

Or do you believe that in conjunction with your belief that sexist media makes sexist people (who do sexist things in real life) that progressive media makes progressive people (who do progressive things in real life). I feel like to have a reasonable point of view, you either need to believe both or believe neither. I believe neither, and if you believe both, then yes, I can agree to disagree

I believe both, yes.  Your environment shapes your attitudes, for good or bad.  Someone in a sexist environment is more likely to have sexist attitudes, and thus more likely to engage in sexist behavior.  On the flip side, someone in a feminist (or "progressive" or "pro-equality" or whatever you want to call it) environment is more likely to internalize those attitudes and engage in that behavior.

 

It's never actually that simple, of course.  People's environments are complex and never simply "sexist" or "not sexist" but rather a mix of both.  Ditto attitudes ane behaviors.  But you get what I mean.

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I'm honestly rather surprised this thread hasn't been locked yet. It's more or less a 105 page argument that's really gone nowhere between the two sides of... whatever issue this thread is about now..

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We might have to agree to disagree on this point.  It seems self-evident to me that the experiences you undergo shape you as a person, and that the media you consume is part of your experiences.  There's no magical barrier between seeing your friends and family make misogynistic jokes and internalizing that experience or watching a comedian on TV make misogynistic jokes and internalizing that experience.  But if you flat-out reject the notion that media you consume affects you as a person, then there's really nothing else to discuss on the subject.

 

I'm struggling to see what that has to do with the wider subject of sexism in games (or media in general) and the criticism thereof.

 

 

Congratulations, you've just literally said Jack Thompson was right about everything and videogames make people violent and sexist despite literally all evidence we have showing otherwise.

 

You're right about one thing though, there's nothing really to discuss with someone that holds a religious belief in the evil influence of media even when contradicted by the scientific evidence that it doesn't work like that.

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Necro-bump? Well, kinda... saw this on my Facebook feed and thought it did a damn good job of handling some of the topics we've discussed here, WITHOUT stumbling into the same obvious, tired traps that Anita and others do:

 

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On 7/7/2016 at 6:59 AM, djpretzel said:

Necro-bump? Well, kinda... saw this on my Facebook feed and thought it did a damn good job of handling some of the topics we've discussed here, WITHOUT stumbling into the same obvious, tired traps that Anita and others do:

 

This is the only one of these types of videos I've ever been able to watch until the end. She really laid out all of the information and presented it in a non-inflammatory manner, which is more than I can say for many others. I admire that she didn't top it off with a 'we need to do X' narrative, either.

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Yeah, I'm a fan. Critical analysis without the condemnation and agenda pushing. :P Notice how the YouTube comments, notorious for being a cesspool, while still having dissenting views, is filled with people posing questions and playing devil's advocate rather than flaming and hate.

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That's because Sarkeesian/McIntosh would deliberately curate comments to delete anything reasonable and leave only trolls.

Necro-bump? Well, kinda... saw this on my Facebook feed and thought it did a damn good job of handling some of the topics we've discussed here, WITHOUT stumbling into the same obvious, tired traps that Anita and others do:

My answer to any claim of "objectification" is the same: Disprove the claim. If it's a legitimate concept and not a cry of "witch! communist!" then no one should have trouble naming a simple way to disprove the accusation something is objectifying. If there is no way to disprove an accusation then it isn't legitimate, it's witch-hunting and can be dismissed summarily.

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1 hour ago, Shadowe said:

My answer to any claim of "objectification" is the same: Disprove the claim. If it's a legitimate concept and not a cry of "witch! communist!" then no one should have trouble naming a simple way to disprove the accusation something is objectifying. If there is no way to disprove an accusation then it isn't legitimate, it's witch-hunting and can be dismissed summarily.

What the hell kind of logic are you smoking? A concept is legitimate if and only if it can be disproved? Does that not mean that all legitimate concepts render themselves illegitimate by virtue of the requirement of being disprovable? You've talked yourself into a paradox. :-P

I think you may be trying to hint at the concept of a "loaded accusation", but the way you explain it isn't at all how it works.

Perhaps you're also not really being careful about the use of the words "prove" and "disprove" as well. Proving is an objective endeavor, and so is disproving. It's non-negotiable, objective truth. Perhaps you mean "refute the claim" or providing counterargument in any fashion, in which case I would agree with you; it's something that's so loaded that it's impossible to disagree with. The only other alternative is it being universal truth, like 2 + 2 = 4, also impossible to disagree with (though I'm sure some people on this forum would find a way).

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To be fair, the ability to disprove something is important in a scientific context (if something can't be disproven, then it's not something that can be scientifically investigated), but literary criticism isn't and has never really pretended to be science.  Anything involve art is inherently going to be subjective.

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What? No. Science is all about proving things, at least beyond a reasonable doubt, not disproving. If something can't be proven, then it is likely not true. Not the other way around. Ever hear the saying "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence"?

"You can't prove it didn't happen, so therefore it must be true"

is literally the exact opposite of science.

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